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Ashwin, Brathwaite among ICC top performers of the year

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India offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin has claimed the top ICC awards for 2015-16, having been named the ICC Cricketer of the Year and the Test Cricketer of the Year. Ashwin is the third Indian, after Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for Cricketer of the Year.

Ashwin, currently the top-ranked Test bowler, had picked up 48 wickets and scored 336 runs in eight Tests during the ICC’s voting period from September 2015 to 2016, in addition to 27 wickets in 19 T20Is. In 2016 alone, he picked up 72 wickets in 12 Tests and became the second-fastest bowler to 200 wickets during the Kanpur match against New Zealand.

Ashwin said he was overwhelmed by the recognition. “It’s a bit overwhelming and it is yet to sink in completely. At the same time I was expecting to land one but to end up with two awards was extremely special,” he said. “To be bracketed alongside Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar is indeed a matter of great pride.

“I want to dedicate this award to my family who have been a pillar of strength. And not to forget all my teammates and coach Anil Kumble who push me to give my best with their support and guidance.”

The Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin heads the list of 2016 awardees
The Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin heads the list of 2016 awardees

The offspinner rated his 7 for 83 in the Antigua Test against West Indies as the performance he enjoyed the most. That haul helped India to an innings-and-92-run win, and he finished the series as the leading wicket-taker with 17 dismissals. Another performance Ashwin rated highly was his knock of 118 in the first innings in St Lucia, which helped rescue India from 126 for 5 to 353. They went on to win the match by 237 runs. It was also Ashwin’s fourth Test hundred.

South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock was named ODI Player of the Year. De Kock has been South Africa’s leading run-getter in ODIs since September last year, and tallied 793 runs in 16 ODIs during the voting period. Overall, since September 2015, he has scored 1175 runs in 22 matches in the format, with five centuries and three fifties, ahead of senior batsmen like Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla.

One of de Kock’s most prolific phases came between October 2015 and February 2016, when he scored four centuries in six innings during the tour of India and the home series against England. He enjoyed the same form in the longest format, with five successive fifty-plus scores between August and November 2016. De Kock is the second South Africa player after AB de Villiers to win the award.

West Indies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite’s match-defining 34 not out off 10 balls in the World T20 final against England earlier this year was named the T20 Performance of the Year. The allrounder, who took over as the T20 captain in August, sealed a second World T20 title for West Indies by slamming four successive sixes to end a chase of 156 in Kolkata.

Bangladesh seamer Mustafizur Rahman was named Emerging Cricketer of the Year, having notched up impressive performances since his international debut in April 2015. The first Bangladesh cricketer to win an annual ICC award, Mustafizur picked up eight ODI wickets and 19 T20I wickets in the voting period.

Afghanistan’s flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad won the Associate and Affiliate Cricketer of the Year. He was the leading run-getter in the category, with 699 runs in 16 ODIs, 533 runs in 17 T20Is and 301 runs in the Intercontinental Cup matches.

Earlier, New Zealand’s Suzie Bates had bagged the Women’s ODI and T20I Player-of-the-Year awards, while Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was given the Spirit of Cricket award. Marais Erasmus won the David Shepherd Trophy for the Best Umpire.

ICC Test Team of the Year 2016: 1 David Warner, 2 Alastair Cook (capt), 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Joe Root, 5 Adam Voges, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Ben Stokes, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Dale Steyn, 12 Steven Smith.

ICC ODI Team of the Year 2016: 1 David Warner, 2 Quinton de Kock, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Mitchell Marsh, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Sunil Narine, 12 Imran Tahir. (ESPNCricinfo)

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